Nintendo has finally announced both the release date, and price for its Wii U Console. It didn’t really surprise anyone when Nintendo revealed that the Wii U will launch on November 18, but they did surprise with the announcement of two SKUs. Gamers can either buy the Wii U Basic Set for $299.99, or the Wii U Deluxe Set for $349.99. Gamers were predicting that Nintendo would set the Wii U price at around the $300 mark, so the pricing was generally accepted by most. At least by most that populate my Twitter feed.
There’s already been a ton of discussion on whether or not these prices are too high, so I don’t know what I could add that hasn’t already been discussed. Instead, I decided to approach the issue in a different manner. So I asked myself, is the Wii U price appropriate? My answer has to be yes.
I was thinking about it earlier today and came up with two reasons that the Wii U price is appropriate. The first reason is that I believe the pricing will help differentiate the new console from the Wii.
As we all remember, Nintendo shocked everyone back in 2006 with its rather low price of $249.99 for the Wii, or $279.99 if you were in Canada at the time, damn loonie. Immediately, I believe that the average consumer will look at the Wii U, see the $300 price tag and compare it to the price of the Wii. What could that comparison actually tell them? Well, I believe it will help with the realization that this is a new, more technically advanced Wii console from Nintendo.
This is pure speculation on my part, but it is how I would perceive the item not knowing otherwise. I’m no expert on consumer behaviour (and I don’t claim to be), but I do believe that pricing the console this way could help consumers with their purchase this holiday season. Though, I also believe that some children will wake up Christmas Morning expecting a Wii U, but receiving a Wii due to consumer confusion created by Nintendo; my future self is already heartbroken for them.
I mentioned that I had two reasons, right? OK, so my second argument gets away from the average consumer and focuses on the gamer. Though, perception plays a big role here as well.
When I say gamer, I actually mean those that don’t consider Nintendo’s efforts to be next gen. I’m not attacking anyone, and I would agree with them on several points, but what exactly is a next generation console? Does it have tons of power, big hard drives, HD graphics, and amazing online functionality? Yes, and probably more. A console generation is also a period of time in which consoles are released alongside one another, or otherwise known as competition. X-Box 360, PS3, and yes the Wii, were all released between 2005 and 2012. I would consider this to be the period of time for that particular generation. This is going somewhere, I promise.
Nintendo has struggled with image for a long time now and the general perception is that Nintendo consoles are not next-gen, despite being released during a the same era of other next-gen consoles. Reasons for this perception could include Nintendo’s characters, lack of willingness to go HD, or improving their online approach. Though, realistically, none of that can be said this time around. Wii U supports 1080p, has mature third party games coming, and promises an innovative social network and improved online services. While it’s easy to see that Wii U is next-gen, not everyone will see it that way. This is where the price comes in again.
Pricing the console at $300+ may help with the perception that you are buying into the next generation of consoles. Die hard Nintendo fans are sold, but what about the other audience that Nintendo is trying to obtain? Maybe some of them will see the higher price point and think to themselves; this really is a next-gen console. Not exactly a strong argument, but may be one way that Nintendo is trying to shatter their current image.
Am I on to something here? Or am I just speaking out of my derriere? This article is meant to be a recap of my personal thoughts, but I’m curious to see if anyone has thought of something similar. These type of articles don’t tend to be my strong point, but I thought I’d let this one loose anyway. Please leave your thoughts on the Wii U price, my article, or whatever you feel like leaving in the comments below.